, NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 12 – A case in which two NGO’s are contesting the move by the Ministry of Health to restrain them from training medical workers on safe abortions has been pushed to February.
Judge John Mativo postponed the hearing since two other judges who were appointed to hear the matter together with him are presiding over election petitions.
The case will be heard for two consecutive days beginning February 1.
The Centre for Reproductive Rights and FIDA-Kenya have sued the Ministry of Health arguing that the move is a violation of women rights and health workers.
Four years ago, the ministry withdrew alleged ‘standard guidelines’ directing health workers to stop attending trainings and workshops on safe abortion and use of Medabon.
They were warned that they would be prosecuted if they participated in the trainings.
But the lobby groups challenged the move accusing the ministry of acting arbitrarily and without justification.
The decision has also been faulted on grounds that it bars health workers from accessing medical information through training, develop skills in life-saving, abortion care, and provide patients with accurate information.
To protect women’s health and lives, the NGO’s say it is important that the ministry advises when health workers can provide safe and legal abortion services.
The NGOs claim that abortion is permitted under Article 26 (4) of the Constitution.
However, the ministry has objected to the case insisting that abortion is illegal and the trainings should not be allowed.
In an affidavit, former Health PS Nicholas Muraguri, states that the guidelines in question were withdrawn because stakeholders could not agree.
He says the same could be re-introduced once a consensus is reached and the edition to be applied.